Keep Taking the Tablets

Brexit Brexitumma

Dr Martin Worthington, a fellow of St John’s College, has learnt how to speak Babylonian and is now teaching his students. The written form of the language is cuneiform, as seen on ancient tablets from the once-great city. Here is an example:Cuneiform-2In Latin script that is “Brexit Brexitumma” and in written, modern-day English it states “Brexit Means Brexit”. Presumably Dr Worthington understands all these forms but the Babylonians themselves, though they might have been able to read it and say it, would not have understood what it meant, any more than we do today. It is of course a circular definition that tells us nothing and perhaps that is why our Prime Minister has repeated it so often. It’s no clearer however you say it or write it.

HostageWhat is clear now is that “Brexit Means Being a Hostage” would be a fairer interpretation of Mrs May’s current proposal for withdrawing from the European Union. As Lord Mervyn King, ex-Governor of the Bank of England, says of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, “There are arguments for remaining in the EU and there are arguments for leaving the EU. But there is no case whatever for giving up the benefits of remaining without obtaining the benefits of leaving.”

Tablets of Stone

Brexit tabletPerhaps we should stay after all. It is interesting that the European Court of Justice has decided that the UK may continue its EU membership on its existing terms if it wishes, and without asking the other 27 members for their approval. That’s very generous. It’s not written into the treaties but the judges decided that Article 50 can be ‘interpreted’ that way (i.e. reversed). What they mean is that laws are to be interpreted so that they further the goals of the Union and specifically the goal of “ever closer union”. Flexible laws are very handy for the EU when they wish them to be but when they want to be awkward they suddenly become as binding as the Commandments God gave to Moses in tablet form. EU law is a political tool rather than simply a code of justice, as we have noted before (see World’s Favourite Law and Shorties-19).

Frontières Sans Médicament

Tablet - law 1If we leave the EU without a ‘frictionless’ trade deal there could be problems at ports that delay time-critical medicines. We already have delays at ports of course, they were pretty bad in 2015 due to stroppy Frenchmen protesting, as they frequently do. We usually cope but Brexit is different according to the doom forecasters – planes won’t be flying, remember?

We shouldn’t worry too much of course because Médecins Sans Frontières would leap into action to bring us our tablets, potions and all that’s necessary to save us – according to Wikipedia, ‘the organisation emphasises “independence and impartiality”, and explicitly precludes political, economic, or religious factors in its decision making’. Still, if this is true it would be an inexcusable act of war against us, putting British lives in danger.

Tablet - Babylon 1



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